The Agony of Joyful Hope

I am continually intrigued by how often King David in the Psalms cries out to God in the midst of difficult, distressing, and agonizing circumstances. Consider just a few of these instances:


Psalm 18:6

In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.


Psalm 25:16,17

Turn to me and be gracious to me, For I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses.


Psalm 34:6

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him And saved him out of all his troubles.


Psalm 86:1

Incline Your ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy.


Psalm 118:5

From my distress I called upon the LORD; The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.


Psalm 142:1,2

I cry aloud with my voice to the LORD; I make supplication with my voice to the LORD. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him.


I take great encouragement in the presence and frequency of these cries of distress, because David’s experience resonates so much with my own. The only difference is in the specifics of the circumstances. But there is not a week that goes by, actually not a single day, in which I am not similarly driven to cry out to God because of some situation (or situations!) for which I desperately need His help and provision. This happens with increasing frequency.


Not only in the Psalms, but throughout all of Scripture, it is clear that being in distress and agony is a normal Christian experience. The issue isn’t whether we’ll be subject to these things as believers – we will be. The real issue is: how do we respond? For David in the above Psalms, his faith-filled cries to the Lord became the conduit through which God comforted and stabilized his soul, so that David knew great joy and hope even in the distress of his circumstances. As a result, he persevered in trusting and obeying God, even when it was difficult and painful.


God intends to deepen our dependence on Him by leading us through distresses and difficulties that provoke us to seek Him. So we ought not be surprised when we face any number of agonizing circumstances, but rather follow the example of David and countless others in crying out to God. As we do so in faith, regarding all that God has revealed in His word, we too will know more of the joy, hope, strength, and power God lavishes on his thirsty, distressed children. And He will be praised all the more!


Paul said it this way in Phil. 4:6,7:


Philippians 4:6,7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Growing with you,